Archive for the ‘Body/Mind/Spirit’ Category

103492535_10159907492433065_7788933255055304067_nBy Rennie Davis

Creating a future during an age of extinction requires changing ourselves profoundly. Any person joining a movement to change the future must also deeply examine themselves. Changing yourself is not for everyone but it is for the five percent of humanity on a journey to evolve. There are 400 million people in every region on Earth and we are not another generation just passing through this world like every previous generation either. We are an emerging new humanity who can create the future of humanity.

The task that is great seems daunting until you look around and see our whole world has changed overnight. Rather than sit on the fence paralyzed by doubt, our time to write a new human story is now right in front of us.

The pandemic sweeping today’s world has set in motion the final chapter of a global civilization no one can reverse because the Earth herself is rebalancing. People may want to believe everything will be normal just around the corner, but the human race is not going to return to its unsustainable production and consumption obsession. Like other great civilizations that slowly degraded and perished, the United States is among the many nations that are fracturing, fraying and winding down today.

During an age of extinction, it is the new humanity that can create the future of humanity.

No disrespect is meant to the person who assumed recovery was just around the corner. I know it is hard to imagine that humanity cannot end the pandemic and then repair some of the worst functions of our unsustainable society. But returning to normal is not in the cards.

Consider the top 1 percent of society. The top of our world has surpassed the combined wealth of the bottom 80 percent of our world’s population. With a minimalist conception of government with a dereliction of civic duties and mutual obligations, the sources of capital have lost the wisdom to reform an unsustainable economy in freefall whose population has exceeded its load limit on the planet. .

A new generation is called to cut the Gordian knot on the human condition and create a new way of living on Earth. The hope for humanity is found in a completely new field of possibilities.

A large global family is living in every region of the world at the present time. We have been quietly reflecting on the state of humanity for decades. We share a spiritual outlook. 

We honor nature’s intelligence. We possess a vast collective understanding about the soil, water, desert reclamation, biochar, mycelium, permaculture, biodynamic farming, holistic energy medicines, Earth Whispering and breakthrough technologies that exist in inventor basements that would change the human experience with free energy and other discoveries.

Among us is the complete know how for evolutionary building, based on whole system solutions. We are simply the best group on Earth to replace humanity’s entire, unsustainable way of building with a new way of living.

We will build a new living showcase high on a hill where a despairing, worried public could see with their own eyes how people can collaborate and respect without blame and finger pointing. In a time of social collapse, we can create a new living showcase where energy is free, food is nutritious, building materials are green, and holistic health and wellbeing practices navigate disease and pandemics into a post pandemic healthy, thriving era. 

Energy medicines new to the world would be available. New living homes would be affordable, practical, durable, and inspiring. As our global civilization slowly figures it out that humanity is in an age of extinction, a new human Earth accord can emerge showing the way for the people who want to live and thrive from a new living nation for the future of humanity.

Changing yourself is not for everyone. It is for the individual who wants to check their own negative egos, stop their blame and finger pointing and be the change that transforms the future themselves. We don’t have to change them. Humanity will follow this path to the future when each person is ready to change themselves.

Source: Facebook & New Humanity


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BruceChaos1The Truth about ‘Chaos’

If you have watched the news lately, browsed the web, or even looked out the window, you may have noticed that something is going on. In the face of economic upheaval, religious violence, racial bloodshed, climate change and now, a viral pandemic, civilization is in a state of upheaval. The globe is enveloped in chaos.

Chaos? That sounds pretty scary! The reason is that most people confuse the word chaos with the word random. Random simply means the outcome or result of a process occurs simply by “chance.” In contrast, the opposite of random is the word determined, which means the outcome of a process can be predicted by understanding a sequence of cause and effect events.

BUT WAIT! Fact: Chaos is not random!

Chaos is actually a special case of determinism. While the outcome of a chaotic process is indeed determined, the number of inputs contributing to the process is so great, that it is mathematically impossible to calculate all of the data to predict what will inevitably result. Remember the story of the butterfly effect; in which a butterfly that flaps its wings in South America influences a storm in North America?

The weather is an example of chaos. You could make a totally accurate prediction of what the weather will be at twelve-noon on Monday in Paris … but one would first have to calculate the flapping wings of every butterfly and every other insect around the world, as well as measure every breeze on the planet, and a myriad of other contributing factors. Theoretically, the collective data would be able to make an accurate prediction of weather at every spot on the globe. The problem is that it is impossible to record all of the data necessary for that accuracy. So, weather prediction, using only a small data set, would not provide an accurate prediction but would represent more of a ‘probable’ prediction.

In regard to the current global chaos, the influence of human behavior has undermined the web of life and precipitated the planet’s Sixth Mass Extinction event. Is the current chaos expressing civilization’s end or is it signaling a new beginning for civilization?

Stepping into A New Phase of Civilization

Surprise! Nature is an expression of fractal geometry, the science that emphasizes the principle of “As above, so below.” Getting to the point, the evolution of human civilization is an expression of a fractal, self-similar, image of vertebrate evolution; the pattern of evolution that went from fish to amphibians, to reptiles, birds, and finally, mammals. Human civilization has completed the first four stages and is on the threshold of manifesting the fifth level, the ‘mammalian’ version of our evolution. The earliest version of civilization represented the ‘fish’ phase, a time when the lives of the early people were tied to the proximity of water, living off the fruits of the sea and traveling the planet from coast to coast.

Once humans developed the ability to dig wells and use viaducts to control the availability of water, they were able to move on to the land and generate agriculture. This was the equivalent of the ‘amphibian’ phase of human evolution, starting at the water and moving onto land. The introduction of technology pushed humanity to the next higher level of civilization’s evolution, its ‘reptilian’ phase. Reptiles, from lizards to dinosaurs, move and behave as powerful, Earth-bound digital ‘machines.’ When humans entered the industrial age, civilization advanced beyond agriculture and created a mechanized civilization. Interestingly, the ‘blood’ of the dinosaurs, oil, is the fuel that powers our ‘reptilian’ civilization.

In 1902, the industrial revolution enabled the Wright brothers to manifest human flight in North Carolina, an event that birthed the ‘bird’ phase of civilization. Civilization’s ‘bird’ phase culminated when humans landed on the Moon in 1969. The event was marked by the astronauts’ picture of the distant blue-green planet Earth on the Moon’s horizon.

This one photograph changed human civilization and launched the Earth Day movement, a time of Hippies and a time when people began to consciously recognize that we must take care of the children, the oceans, the lands and the air … a focus on nurturing Nature. It is not a coincidence that the character of mammals is that they are, by definition, ‘nurturers.’ The moon landing, the fullest evolution of the ‘bird’ phase, precipitated the evolution of the ‘mammalian’ phase of civilization.

Opportunity for a New Beginning

The current global chaos is a symptom of the pending mass extinction event. It is an expression of an inherent fractal pattern, in which Nature is informing us that our destructive ‘reptilian’ phase of exploiting Nature must come to an end. It is necessary that the ‘reptilian’ dinosaurs, the corporations that control government, stop desecrating Mother Nature for profits. It is time for us to collectively evolve to a higher level of consciousness and adopt the indigenous people’s insight as being ‘gardeners’ that nurture the planet. Nature is now calling us to adopt our ‘mammalian’ character as nurturers.

So where are we at the current moment? The most important point we must recognize is that the current chaos is not a ‘random’ character; it is an expression of an unfolding predetermined pattern. We are observing the collapse of the current destructive ‘reptilian’ civilization while simultaneously seeing the rise of the new, nurturing ‘mammalian’ culture.

The important conclusion of this communication is that the planetary upheaval we are now experiencing is not an ending, but a new beginning, offering an opportunity to birth a new, healthy, sustainable civilization. Employing an understanding of Nature’s inherent fractal pattern will enable human beings to create a social structure that will nurture the planet and its web of life, an evolutionary uprising that will ensure all of life has a chance to thrive into the future.

The conclusion is simple: Don’t focus on the structures that are collapsing. It is time to direct our intentions and our efforts in supporting the rise of a holistic, healthy and harmonious new civilization!

Source: Uplift Connect

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Being mindful, is in essence, being fully in the present moment with a willingness and curiosity to be with ‘what is.’ It involves being aware of the physical sensations in your body, the thoughts in your mind, and the willingness to be with the full gamut of your emotions, as well as holding ALL of the above with compassion. If you are not practicing compassion with yourself or others, you are not practicing mindfulness.

a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Life Coach and Inspiration and Wellness Specialist at Lake Austin Spa Resort, Julie Haber.

Julie brings over 25 years of experience in holistic living and a passion for helping others. She believes our most valuable wisdom comes from the experience of our own life. She likes to remind herself and others that the word inspiration comes from the Latin verb inspire, which means to ‘breathe into.’ She believes every experience we go through in life, whether challenging or enjoyable, gives us an opportunity to breathe into it.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

love this question! I would love to be able to say I had an epiphany or a bolt of light appeared one day and guided me to pursue the career path I am on now, but truthfully that was not how it went down at all. I came to this path from a place of pain and searching for answers. I was in need of healing having suffered from a long term autoimmune disease and multiple life disappointments. I knew I needed a combination of knowledge, healing and inspiration and was on a desperate search for that.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

What stands out for me the most about my career path is that every person I have coached and helped has reflected back to me parts of my own self. The saying, ‘We teach what we most need to learn,’ has been so true for me. I believe I receive frequent blessings through working and serving others, as it often reminds me to apply what I share with others, to my own self. I love helping people find a path of peace, wellness and wisdom.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

There is so much more I could say about this, but to keep it short and simple, I believe there are three things necessary in order to create an optimum, productive, and inspired work culture.

  1. Express gratitude and appreciation for each other’s unique contributions.
  2. Commit to doing our personal best individually and collectively as a team, with a common shared purpose and vision to help others.
  3. Incorporate a collaborative leadership and conflict resolution model. Understand that conflict is natural and allows for growth and opportunity.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho. It is the story of a young boy who goes out into the world with a personal vision. Many say he is too poor and young, and this is a ludicrous idea, but he holds fast to his dream. The idea being, if you believe and desire something, and your desire is pure, the whole universe will help and support you in the realization of your dream. It is a book about hope, and deeply encourages us to courageously and persistently move toward and fulfill our goals.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

Being mindful, is in essence, being fully in the present moment with a willingness and curiosity to be with ‘what is.’ It involves being aware of the physical sensations in your body, the thoughts in your mind, and the willingness to be with the full gamut of your emotions, as well as holding ALL of the above with compassion. If you are not practicing compassion with yourself or others, you are not practicing mindfulness.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

Sure, there are many. Some of the physical benefits are lowered stress levels (which may, in turn, contribute to lowering the blood pressure), improved sleep, increased management for chronic pain, and brain health (an increase of gray matter- helpful for memory and learning as well as emotional regulation.) Some mental benefits: It can help us to think more clearly and make decisions more effectively, helps to decrease anxiety and worry, helps us to focus and not ruminate excessively. Some emotional benefits: A decrease in a sense of loneliness and isolation, more inspiration and a reported feeling of being more ‘centered’, feeling more connected to others because we feel more connected to our own self, as well as an overall deeper level of acceptance.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

Here are five simple mindfulness practices that can greatly benefit us during these unprecedented and uncertain times.

  1. Befriending Our Anxiety —  It is natural to feel anxious during unpredictable and uncertain times. Learn to accept and sit with your anxiety without pushing it away. Once you have identified that you are feeling anxious or fearful, allow some compassion for yourself. Compassion is both helpful and necessary before you take a step forward. So next time you feel anxious, rather than distract yourself with an escape or let your anxiety get out of control, simply say ‘Anxiety, I am aware you are here. Rather than push you away, I am going to accept that you are here and choose something that helps me to cope with you being here, rather than avoiding or denying your existence.’
  2. Mindful Eating —  Human beings have a habit of eating for comfort. Based on what I am hearing from people lately, there is a spike in eating for comfort now more than perhaps ever. When faced with uncertainty or turbulent times, we long for comfort. Usually under stress, people will eat more or sometimes eat less. I can tell by the amount of comments and memes on social media lately, that many are swinging toward the eating more than they need and are afraid of gaining weight in their search for being comfortable and the reality of being home more, and less on ‘the go.’ Practicing mindful eating can take many forms. Taking an opportunity to say a blessing over your food before eating, eating slowly and eating only what you need, choosing foods that feel comforting in a healthy way (instead of eating a bunch of sugar, baking a sweet potato, or having a sweet piece of whole fruit for instance.) Before you impulsively eat, take an inventory of your feelings and ask yourself, ‘What would feel truly nourishing right now?’ The other night I was reaching for some comfort food but I stopped myself to ask this question and I got that I needed love and comfort, so I called a close friend instead of downing a box of chocolate chip cookies or chips.
  3. Mindful Hand Washing — You would need to be hiding under a rock at this point to not have heard the clear instructions we have been given regarding the washing of our hands frequently for 20 seconds with hot water, so as not contract or spread the virus. Rather than just throw soap on your hands and unconsciously go through the motions, let yourself be fully present with this process. You can even turn it into a mindfulness ritual! Be present as you do this, enjoy it, say a prayer if you like. I have started to do the ‘meditation on loving kindness’ when I wash my hands, ‘May I be filled with loving kindness’, ‘May I be safe from inner and outer dangers’, ‘May I be well in body and mind’, ‘May I be at ease and happy’
  4. Mindful Awareness of Others —  During a pandemic it is easy to be concerned with our own immediate needs before we think of others. It requires extra effort to be mindful of others’ needs because our brains go into survival and fight or flight mode. This is so obvious when you go into a grocery store and you see people arguing over a roll of toilet paper. Practice mindful shopping. Ask yourself, if I were to expand my consciousness to get only what I need for the next week or two, what would I buy? This allows supplies to be left for other people who are in need of what you are in need of too.
  5. Mindful Routines — Even though many of us have had our schedules rearranged during this time, it is perhaps more essential than ever to have regular routines in place. Routine and sticking to a schedule will help to provide the necessary structure and comfort during these times of uncertainty and upheaval. It is so easy to stay up late ‘and sleep in’ and walk around in your pajamas all day when you are confined to your home, but if you can instead stick to a schedule that allows for continuity, you will receive the tremendous benefit. If you are working from home, get dressed in something comfortable but presentable — this will allow you to have the proper mindset. Make sure to have time for Mindful Exercise too! Having some type of exercise is essential. I am lucky to live on a greenbelt where I can go for a nature walk and it is easy to keep a social distance. If you can, get some fresh air and be out in nature. If this is not possible, make sure you are getting regular exercise at home. I did a wonderful nature walk, where I looked for beautiful and peaceful sights on my walk yesterday. I saw a red cardinal, a beautiful sunset, an inchworm, a butterfly, water running in the creek, clouds moving, new green leaves sprouting, and wildflowers blooming. I believe this was immune-boosting and stress-reducing. I call being mindful of beauty!

From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  1. Listen and be present for others, rather than fix or problem solve. I am noticing that during this stressful time, people need to be allowed to vent without being interrupted. Lend an ear or call a friend to check-in.
  2. Be on the lookout for those who may need extra support: Offer grocery support to the elderly and the physically compromised, be mindful of those who are suddenly watching or homeschooling their kids full time, they may need to vent! Be aware of those less fortunate who have less income, resources or are more at risk. Let them know you have their back (from a healthy 6 to 10 feet distance of course!)
  3. Gently help others reframe what they wish they had but don’t, into what they do have — in other words, practice gratitude. For instance, ‘Well they did not have the organic blueberries at the store, but they did have the oatmeal I wanted.’ Or, ‘My kids are driving me crazy, but I am happy we have this chance as a family to spend more time together, this a time that will always be remembered!’
  4. Remind others of the simple superpower they have of mindful breathing! Conscious breathing is free and is one of the best, if not THE best ways of soothing an anxious mind and body. Invite your friends to breathe with you — start by inhaling for four counts, hold the breath for two counts, and exhale for six counts. When we breathe through the nose and it helps to bring more oxygen into our brains, which in turn helps emotional regulation and optimum steps forward.
  5. Practice mindful brainstorming. For instance, if you have a friend who just lost a significant portion of their income due to this pandemic and is feeling anxious and fearful as a result, ask them if they would like to mindfully brainstorm some options with you. There is not just one answer to how to live a successful and meaningful life. Get out a pen and paper and let yourself free associate all the possible options. No option is too far fetched of an idea. When we go through times of stress and constriction, we are often led to places where we have to step out of our comfort zone and grow. Losing a job could mean starting the business you have always wanted to start but were too afraid to, for instance!

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

I have always been a big fan of the Dummy and Idiot books. They are clear, provide excellent instruction, and have lots of resources and plentiful humor. Check out ‘Mindfulness for Dummies.’ Or ‘The Complete Idiots Guide to Mindfulness.’

Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) is also an excellent instructor and resource. Check out his website for some guided meditations and instruction at mindfulnesscds.com

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

In times of stress, it seems everyone is happy to give you advice on what YOU should do based on THEIR OWN trajectory. I personally have found this very confusing, as what is true for someone else may not be true for me. I am sure we have all had moments of taking someone else’s advice and then regretting it later because we were not true to ourselves, or even more seriously, we betrayed our own self. For this reason, one of my all-time favorite quotes is ‘Be Yourself Everyone Else Is Taken’ by Oscar Wilde. I find that when I am true to me, and let myself truly and unapologetically be me, I have less stress and more of a sense of peace and fulfillment in my life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am currently in the process of creating my version and vision of how to spread as much goodness to as many people as possible. The website is under progress and will be coming soon (provided that I breathe deep and let go of perfectionism.) I believe it is essential for our health, wellbeing and ultimately the happiness of our world that we realize we are all connected and that we learn to simultaneously get very good at taking care of ourselves while forming strong partnerships and connection with others. We are all one family! If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are all connected!

Source: Medium

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Source: YouTube

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Johnny Light, Editor’s Note: A must see primer on how the human body protects against disease and how stress shuts down the immune system.

Source: YouTube

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meditation-3338549_1280IN BRIEF

  • The Facts:Below, you will find 8 paths as described in the second book (out of four) of the Yoga Sutras, written by the Indian sage Patanjali about two thousand years ago.
  • Reflect On:The practice of yoga involves much more than the physical aspect of what many people do today.

Yoga is something that continues to gain a tremendous amount of popularity throughout the world as we move through 2015 and beyond. It’s not a religion, and it is used and practiced by theists, atheists, and everyone in between. There are two major components of yoga that are now being practiced in the West today: physical fitness through stretching (asana), and mental fitness through the practice of meditation (dhyana).

Many in the West do not know that for thousands of years, the true nature of yoga was to achieve states of insightfulness that helped to reveal the true nature of Reality, “before personal biases and cultural expectations have a chance to distort our perceptions.” (1)

Yoga predates Hinduism by centuries, possibly millennia, and is closely associated with Jainism and Buddhism. Its origins can be traced back three to five thousand years ago.

Below, you will find 8 paths as described in the second book (out of four) of the Yoga Sutras, written by the Indian sage Patanjali about two thousand years ago. I thought it would be useful to share, as reflecting on these teachings, for some people, can really improve mental states and life in general.

“The second book of the Yoga Sutras describes the practice of yoga. The goal of practice is to break out of the destructive habits that distract the mind and in turn create suffering. Patanjali describes a method known as ashtanga, or the eightfold path.” Dean Radin, PhD., Chief Scientist At The Institute of Noetic Sciences (1)

Here they are:

Path 1 is Yama: Restraining from harmful behaviour, or cautions on what behaviour to avoid. This includes violence, injury, telling falsehoods, stealing, lasciviousness, greed, and in general adopting ethical and virtuous behaviour.

Path 2 is Niyama: Developing beneficial behaviour, or guidelines on what behaviours to encourage. This includes cleanliness and austerity, along with cultivating an attitude of gratitude and contentment, and being engaged in a disciplined practice of focus, devotion, and self-study.

Path 3 is Asana: Developing of physical postures. These are designed to assist the mind and body in relaxing, through development of strength, steadiness, and flexibility. The purpose of the asanas is to prepare the body to comfortably withstand the rigors of long-term meditation.

Path 4 is Pranayama: Conscious breathing techniques. These further the mind’s ability to focus, and they energize the body.

Path 5 is Pratyhara: Withdrawing from ordinary sensory perceptions and limiting focus to a single object of attention. Restricting one’s attention frees the mind to concentrate on internal objects of attention, fostering even more tranquility of mind.

Path 6 is Dharana: Developing a steady, sustained concentration. The root word for dhri in dharana means “to hold”; one holds attention on a single object of thought. This type of concentration is similar to that experienced during highly focused intellectual work.

Path 7 is Dhyana: Developing prolonged levels of concentration on an object, with deeper absorption and greater sustained alertness. This is sometimes referred to as meditation.

Path 8 is Samadhi: Unity or mystical absorption with an object of attention. In this state, distinctions between subject and object dissolve and one “becomes” the object of meditation. This awareness is frequently described as ecstatic. That is, it is a super-aware state accompanied by intense, nonsensual pleasure.

Source: Collective Evolution & (1) Radin, Dean. Supernormal: Science, Yoga and the Evidence For Exraordinary Psychic Abilities. New York, Deepak Chopra Books , 2013

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Source: YouTube

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https---blogs-images.forbes.com-brucekasanoff-files-2017-02-intuition-intelligenceBy Bruce Kasanoff

Intuition, argues Gerd Gigerenzer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, is less about suddenly “knowing” the right answer and more about instinctively understanding what information is unimportant and can thus be discarded.

Gigerenzer, author of the book Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious, says that he is both intuitive and rational. “In my scientific work, I have hunches. I can’t explain always why I think a certain path is the right way, but I need to trust it and go ahead. I also have the ability to check these hunches and find out what they are about. That’s the science part. Now, in private life, I rely on instinct. For instance, when I first met my wife, I didn’t do computations. Nor did she.”

I’m telling you this because recently one of my readers, Joy Boleda, posed a question that stopped me in my tracks:

What about intuition? It has never been titled as a form of intelligence, but would you think that someone who has great intuition in things, has more intelligence?

My “gut instinct” is to say yes, especially when we are talking about people who are already intellectually curious, rigorous in their pursuit of knowledge, and willing to challenge their own assumptions.

Let me put this a bit simpler. If all you do is sit in a chair and trust your intuition, you are not exercising much intelligence. But if you take a deep dive into a subject and study numerous possibilities, you are exercising intelligence when your gut instinct tells you what is – and isn’t – important.

In some respects, intuition could be thought of as a clear understanding of collective intelligence. For example, most web sites are today organized in an intuitive way, which means they are easy for most people to understand and navigate. This approach evolved after many years of chaos online, as a common wisdom emerged over what information was superfluous and what was essential (i.e. About Us = essential).

Theo Humphries argues that intuitive design can be described as “understandable without the use of instructions”. This is true when an object makes sense to most people because they share a common understanding of the way things work.

You might say that I’m a believer in the power of disciplined intuition. Do your legwork, use your brain, share logical arguments, and I’ll trust and respect your intuitive powers. But if you merely sit in your hammock and ask me to trust your intuition, I’ll quickly be out the door without saying goodbye.

I say this from personal experience; the more research I do, the better my intuition works.

Although this may be a paraphrase of his thoughts on the subject, Albert Einstein has been widely quoted as saying, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Sometimes, a corporate mandate or group-think or your desire to produce a certain outcome can cause your rational mind to go in the wrong direction. At times like these, it is intuition that holds the power to save you. That “bad feeling” gnawing away at you is your intuition telling you that no matter how badly you might wish to talk yourself into this direction, it is the wrong way to go.

Smart people listen to those feelings. And the smartest people among us – the ones who make great intellectual leaps forward – cannot do this without harnessing the power of intuition.

Source: Forbes

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ConsciousnessMatrixBy Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer

Probably for as long as humans have been able to grasp the concept of consciousness, they have sought to understand the phenomenon.

Studying the mind was once the province of philosophers, some of whom still believe the subject is inherently unknowable. But neuroscientists are making strides in developing a true science of the self.

Here are some of the best contenders for a theory of consciousness.

Cogito ergo sum

Not an easy concept to define, consciousness has been described as the state of being awake and aware of what is happening around you, and of having a sense of self. [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

The 17th century French philosopher René Descartes proposed the notion of “cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”), the idea that the mere act of thinking about one’s existence proves there is someone there to do the thinking.

Descartes also believed the mind was separate from the material body — a concept known as mind-body duality — and that these realms interact in the brain’s pineal gland. Scientists now reject the latter idea, but some thinkers still support the notion that the mind is somehow removed from the physical world.

But while philosophical approaches can be useful, they do not constitute testable theories of consciousness, scientists say.

“The only thing you know is, ‘I am conscious.’ Any theory has to start with that,” said Christof Koch, a neuroscientist and the chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Neuroscience in Seattle.

Correlates of consciousness

In the last few decades, neuroscientists have begun to attack the problem of understanding consciousness from an evidence-based perspective. Many researchers have sought to discover specific neurons or behaviors that are linked to conscious experiences.

Recently, researchers discovered a brain area that acts as a kind of on-off switch for the brain. When they electrically stimulated this region, called the claustrum, the patient became unconscious instantly. In fact, Koch and Francis Crick, the molecular biologist who famously helped discover the double-helix structure of DNA, had previously hypothesized that this region might integrate information across different parts of the brain, like the conductor of a symphony.

But looking for neural or behavioral connections to consciousness isn’t enough, Koch said. For example, such connections don’t explain why the cerebellum, the part of the brain at the back of the skull that coordinates muscle activity, doesn’t give rise to consciousness, while the cerebral cortex (the brain’s outermost layer) does. This is the case even though the cerebellum contains more neurons than the cerebral cortex.

Nor do these studies explain how to tell whether consciousness is present, such as in brain-damaged patients, other animals or even computers. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

Neuroscience needs a theory of consciousness that explains what the phenomenon is and what kinds of entities possess it, Koch said. And currently, only two theories exist that the neuroscience community takes seriously, he said.

Integrated information

Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed one of the most promising theories for consciousness, known as integrated information theory.

Understanding how the material brain produces subjective experiences, such as the color green or the sound of ocean waves, is what Australian philosopher David Chalmers calls the “hard problem” of consciousness. Traditionally, scientists have tried to solve this problem with a bottom-up approach. As Koch put it, “You take a piece of the brain and try to press the juice of consciousness out of [it].” But this is almost impossible, he said.

In contrast, integrated information theory starts with consciousness itself, and tries to work backward to understand the physical processes that give rise to the phenomenon, said Koch, who has worked with Tononi on the theory.

The basic idea is that conscious experience represents the integration of a wide variety of information, and that this experience is irreducible. This means that when you open your eyes (assuming you have normal vision), you can’t simply choose to see everything in black and white, or to see only the left side of your field of view.

Instead, your brain seamlessly weaves together a complex web of information from sensory systems and cognitive processes. Several studies have shown that you can measure the extent of integration using brain stimulation and recording techniques.

The integrated information theory assigns a numerical value, “phi,” to the degree of irreducibility. If phi is zero, the system is reducible to its individual parts, but if phi is large, the system is more than just the sum of its parts.

This system explains how consciousness can exist to varying degrees among humans and other animals. The theory incorporates some elements of panpsychism, the philosophy that the mind is not only present in humans, but in all things.

An interesting corollary of integrated information theory is that no computer simulation, no matter how faithfully it replicates a human mind, could ever become conscious. Koch put it this way: “You can simulate weather in a computer, but it will never be ‘wet.'”

Global Workspace

Another promising theory suggests that consciousness works a bit like computer memory, which can call up and retain an experience even after it has passed.

Bernard Baars, a neuroscientist at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, developed the theory, which is known as the global workspace theory. This idea is based on an old concept from artificial intelligence called the blackboard, a memory bank that different computer programs could access.

Anything from the appearance of a person’s face to a memory of childhood can be loaded into the brain’s blackboard, where it can be sent to other brain areas that will process it. According to Baars’ theory, the act of broadcasting information around the brain from this memory bank is what represents consciousness.

The global workspace theory and integrated information theories are not mutually exclusive, Koch said. The first tries to explain in practical terms whether something is conscious or not, while the latter seeks to explain how consciousness works more broadly.

“At this point, both could be true,” Koch said.

Source: LiveScience

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